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TALLULAH FONTAINE


Tallulah Fontaine “This comic is from a moment 5 years ago, when this boy came to a party at my house. It was the first time he held my hand and I haven’t let go since.” -Tallulah Fontaine Name Tallulah Fontaine Age 23

the music they make but also because I see how hard they work to make their art. Art book, zines and comics too. I’m a bit of a collector. Lately its been Kiki Smith: A Gathering, Seichi Hayashi’s Red Colored Elegy, and Robert Hunter’s The New Ghost.

What is your current location?

What materials do you like to work with?

Los Angeles, California.

Ink, watercolors and gouache. I have all these terrible paint brushes but I like them anyways.

Where are you from? Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. What is your current occupation? Illustrator. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? No, I don’t have any formal education. I took art in high school but I wasn’t very dedicated. I think I spent most of the class time reading National Geographics. Then I didn’t make anything for a few years and picked up art again when I was 21. I’ve been self taught since then. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? I’m fortunate to be surrounded by friends who are wonderful musicians. While I can’t play a thing, music has always been a huge part of my life. I’m very inspired by them, not only due to

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I just finished the artwork and packaging for my friends sophomore album. Now I’m starting some illustrations for a children’s book and working on the 2nd issue of Home, a little zine collective. I have some ideas for some larger pieces based on my grandmother that I would love to start working on as soon as I have the time. What music do you listen to while working? This week its been the new Clark album, Grouper Ruins, Viet Cong “Cassette” Where do you like to work? My little desk.

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What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I remember in pre-school that we melted all the crayons together to make big rainbow crayons ha.

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Where To Find Them Websites: http://www.tallulahfontaine.com/ Contact: hitallulah@gmail.com

10 JANUARY•SERENDIPITY


CHRIS SALLQUIST


Chris Sallquist “This work is the result of intuition, and trial and error. It started with a primary image that felt right to me - based on composition, lighting and facial expression, and was paired with another image that it seemed to belong to it. All my work comes together this way. Combining parts of two different images to create a new piece that reveals an entirely different story. I have no idea how it comes together like it does, actually. It just happens.” -Chris Sallquist

Age

I’m most inspired by people who decide follow their bliss and do what they love doing for their career. Joseph Campbell, the mythologist, and Carl Jung are also big inspirations to me. Movies? Bottle Rocket, Wes Anderson’s first film, is an all-time favorite. Big fan of the absurd.

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What materials do you like to work with?

What is your current location?

I shoot and edit everything on my iPhone, and make prints on art paper.

Name Chris Sallquist

Seattle, Washington Where are you from? Portland, Oregon What is your current occupation? Editorial Director Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I’m a self-taught artist. Like most creative people, I’ve worked with various media throughout my life, including painting, performing, podcasting, writing and video. I started experimenting with mobile photography three years ago and gradually I developed a style that I can call my own. My technique is improving and morphing as I grow. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I’m doing more and more custom portraits of people, which is really fun. I’m also doing some work in the entertainment industry. If you’d told me three years ago that I’d be doing the kinds of projects I am now I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s awesome. What music do you listen to while working? Actually, I shoot and edit most of my pieces while I’m watching TV. Where do you like to work? Red leather chair in my den. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I think maybe it was finger painting in preschool. I remember that it felt great to have paint all over my hands and shirt.

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Where To Find Them Websites: www.artsmashing.com Contact: chris.sallquist@gmail.com

14 JANUARY•SERENDIPITY


ROSEMARY VALERO-O’CONNELL


Rosemary Valero-O'Connell “The thing that interests me the the most about serendipity (and its cousins chance, coincidence, etc.) is the element of interconnectedness that they sometimes imply. The idea of the ‘red string of fate’, that we are linked from the onset to the people that will affect us, for good or for ill, is a strange, sometimes frightening, and sometimes lovely one. I wanted to explore a visual representation of that ambiguous predetermination and that link that can exist between otherwise independent forces. All the line work for this piece was done in graphite, which was a ton of fun, and the colors were done afterwards in Photoshop.” -Rosemary Valero-O’Connell Name

What materials do you like to work with?

Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

My work is almost always a pretty even mix of traditional and digital. All my line work is either done in graphite or with pen and ink (I got a Kuretake brush pen awhile back and I’m truly and honestly in love with it), but my colors are almost always digital.

Age 20 What is your current location? Minneapolis, MN Where are you from? I was born in Minneapolis, but spent most of my childhood in Zaragoza, Spain, the city my dad is from. What is your current occupation? Student, rookie freelancer, amateur plant photographer Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in? Yes! I’m a junior Comic Art major at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and doing me best to stay on top of the good ‘ol art school grind. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? Jillian Tamaki, Emily Carroll, Little Thunder, Tekkonkinkreet (the movie and the comic), every film Satoshi Kon has ever made, and so many of the ridiculously incredible and genuinely lovely people that are trying to get their foot in this industry with me.

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I’m working on a 20 page comic right now about flawed coping mechanisms and the way people try to process loss. It’s gonna be the longest sequential piece I’ve made to date, and it feels like one of the most genuine things I’ve ever tried to sink my teeth into. I’m really excited about it! What music do you listen to while working? Cocorosie, Dessa, MS MR, Jukebox The Ghost, and Joe Hisaishi have been my staples for the last few months. Where do you like to work? I’ve got two studios, one at home and one at school. They’ve both got so many little trinkets in them that I can barely work, but I like to think they look pretty sweet. The one at home is closer to snacks, so I like working there better.

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What is one of your earliest memories of making art? Gluing macaroni to colored cardboard paper and feeling deeply betrayed when I realized this made the macaroni inedible.

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Where To Find Them Websites: http://cargocollective.com/rosemaryvoconnell Contact: rvalerooconnell@mcad.edu

18 JANUARY•SERENDIPITY


ÇAĞLA GÜLŞAH KABACA


Çagla Gülsah Kabaca Name

What materials do you like to work with?

Çağla Gülşah Kabaca

Watercolours, all kind of pencils, stencils, oils, pastels, things from nature (like leaves), canvases, brushes, flowers, feathers, sketchbooks (I carry my sketchbook all the time, usually I draw my cat and the cats I saw outside) photographs, old stuff. I take a lot of photographs with analog cameras and DSLRs. I like to do collages.

Age 20 What is your current location? Denizli, Turkey. I moved here to go to university.

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?

Istanbul, Turkey. I still love that city and go there, but it’s a much more crowded city, and I prefer ones that have more nature and less people.

I’m involved in Columbus Design Coalition. Lately I’ve been working on an awareness project, I’m preparing a watercolour poster. I’m also designing sketches, photographs and doing some writings for my book ‘visual diary’.

What is your current occupation?

What music do you listen to while working?

I’m a 3rd year Economics student at Pamukkale University, but I can’t take myself away art.

Classic rock, oldies. I’m living in the wrong decade, I can ease myself with old songs. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jeff Buckley, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and lately Alex Turner... Sometime, I listen music without lyrics.

Where are you from?

Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I’m working on my own and learning right now. But I took a painting class for couple of years. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? The old songs mostly inspire me. Tunes give me emotions, memories. Thoughts start dancing then. I’d say Harry Potter probably. I’ve read all the books. It’s cliche but my childhood was full of Harry. And Into the Wild (the movie) inspires me everytime I watch it. I’d like to give it a try one day, and go into the nature. Going on a road trip, discovering, taking a camera with me is always my plan B inspirational choice.

Where do you like to work? Indoors is where I don’t have to tidy around, that kind of comfortable working place for me. I’m living with my cat in a flat so one of my room is like an art cell. But if sun is shining I’d prefer outside, the forest. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I was 4 or 5, and there was a painting book in front of me. I used flowers to squish and take colours off for my paintings. I liked hanging them on the walls, wanted them to be seen by covering the whole walls at home. I feel the moment but I’m not sure I remember or it’s just Casettes I’ve watched.

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Where To Find Them Websites: https://cargocollective.com/caglagulsahkabaca http://visualbycagla.tumblr.com/ Contact: cagla.kabaca@gmail.com

22 JANUARY•SERENDIPITY


SEAN JOSEPH KENNEDY


Sean Joseph Kennedy “This painting is about the connection between two strangers meeting for the first time and all the small details each person carries from the course of there life. The images surrounding the silhouettes are depictions of random characteristics of each person. The blue lines represent the spiritual bond shared between them. The strangers are supposed to share a connection with each other that unfold after this scene where they meet. This piece is about destiny and the potential that everything done in this world could possibly have a reason. The meeting of these two lovers is without a doubt a fortunate stroke of serendipity, and without all the happy accidents that have occurred in each other’s lives prior to there meeting they would not share the bond that they do.” -Sean Joseph Kennedy Name

motivate me to create more art and do more with myself.

Sean Joseph Kennedy

What materials do you like to work with?

Age

I really like working with materials I either find or have been given, things that tend to be overlooked by most people are so much fun to show in new light.

19 What is your current location? New York, NY

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?

Where are you from?

I am currently working on a couple of zines, short films, and t shirts I plan on releasing in the near future.

New Jersey

What music do you listen to while working?

What is your current occupation?

While working I tend to listen to unholy amounts of powerviolence. Bands like Sex Prisoner, Charles Bronson and Dropdead can keep me working all night.

Freelance Artist/Illustrator Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? Mostly self taught, but I’m currently enrolled at Parsons The New School for design. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? I find the work of Marina Abramovic truly inspiring and it tends to

Where do you like to work? I have a studio in Greenpoint Brooklyn with Emma Hamilton and it is by far the most fun environment to work in. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I remember sitting on my chair in front of my television spending hours trying to draw the powerpuff girls at around the age of 5.

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Where To Find Them Websites: http://seanjosephkennedy.tumblr.com/ Contact: seanjkennedy95@gmail.com

26 JANUARY•SERENDIPITY


MICHAL WIJATA


Michal Wijata “Each one of us contains within oneself an actor, a director and a spectator. The point where these three characters meet in front of a mirror is fascinating. It is a point where one finds himself in such an intensely intimate situation with oneself that it becomes embarrassing.” -Michal Wijata Name Michal Wijata Where are you from? I am from a small town in Northern Poland, in the south of Pomerania. Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I am self-taught. My education was in the field of philosophy and finally philology. All of my experience with creation and knowledge about it come from personal studies. They tend to be very intensive since they are triggered by fascination. I don’t believe in academies but I do believe in studies. In my opinion there is no creativity without knowledge – I wouldn’t rely on blind shots. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? I am drawn to strong personalities. I am very inspired by successful psychopaths – history knows quite few of them. I do believe that one of the most difficult tasks is to stay in faith in what you do. There is a lot of people willing to tell you what is important or eager to give you advice – not rendering to their influence, relying only and entirely on your own mind is a lifelong exercise. It has been few years now that I mostly read poetry. The combination of the weight and the colour of a poem’s words is something I want to stress in my work. Words weigh. Colours weigh too.

I love the imagery of Xavier Dolan’s films. I love Italian cinema. But I can imagine my life without movies. It is not my strongest need. Above all, my strongest inspiration is my own personal life experience. It does pose difficulties distancing myself from it. Another life-long exercise. I do believe that despite differences between us, we do share the same matrix. Therefore, getting to know myself will eventually lead me to greater knowledge of others. What materials do you like to work with? Materials I work with change with every session. I like equipping my studio with new toys, figuring out how they work and how useful they might be in my projects. Fun is essential. The only material I keep on using incessantly is light. I love daylight but I work with electric lights. They are easier to control, and since I am more interested in getting the images out of my head than in the external world, they serve me better. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I will still be working with inverted colours (negative) in the near future. I am not saying that it will be a life-long relationship – at one point it might become too limiting. But it still has secrets in store and it doesn’t stop fascinating me quite yet. I know there are things out of our control. But negative (inverted colours) is a point of view. I am currently working on two separate projects. I don’t speak about projects in the making. Something is being born and I don’t let people into my bedroom. Unless they are lovers.

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What music do you listen to while working? Music occupies such an important space in my life that it is too broad a topic. So I will be speaking only of the soundtrack to Mortraits. Wills Earl Beal. For the imagery. Yasmine Hamdan’s concerts. For the imagery and sex. Laurie Anderson. For the storytelling. Julia Holter “Loud City Songs” for the storytelling. I don’t like words that abuse imperative. Imperative leaves too little space for action. Action is good. I don’t like sounds that don’t take into consideration its interaction with the space it’s being played in. Interaction is good. Where do you like to work? So far I have been more interested in getting the images out of my head than in the world outside. Therefore, I worked mostly

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Where To Find Them Websites: http://mmww.portfoliobox.me/ Contact: michal.wijata@wp.pl

30 JANUARY•SERENDIPITY

in my studio in my flat. At the moment I’m craving for working in huge spaces like gymnasiums or dancehalls. I consider a challenge working outside. But I aim at it. What is one of your earliest memories of making art? My earliest creative memory is of making theatre performances for my family. I suppose that I considered them good – I charged for them. I would be playing one of the roles, the others were played by marionettes I made of paper. The second memory is of making a piece of furniture, a kind of a cabinet for the articles about my favourite musicians that I collected. With time it couldn’t hold the weight of the articles. After that I can only remember music. Music lead me to visuals.


TONY STELLA


Tony Stella Name

Where do you like to work?

Tony Stella

At home and in nice hotels with strong sunlight coming through the shutters.

What is your current location? Milano. Italy. Where are you from? Germany and Italy. What is your current occupation? Illustrator.

What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I dont consider myself an artist but rather an illustrator. This is no false modesty but there are too many fake artists out there for me to add to the pile. I drew all the time as a child; especially after seeing films. In school I always got bad grades especially in art class. Around the age of six i remember giving my grandmother a bloody battle scene of templer knights for christmas.

Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I am an autodidact. I learned by copying from books. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? Japanese films from all eras and genres. What materials do you like to work with? chinese ink and aquarelle. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? I recently started a collaboration with the amazing “midnight marauder” - check out his great work: midmarauder.tumblr.com What music do you listen to while working? Jazz, funk and film soundtracks.

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Where To Find Them Websites: antoniostella.tumblr.com Contact: illustration.drawing@gmail.com

34 JANUARY•SERENDIPITY


KIRA ASZMAN


Kira Aszman Name

ally never seen anything like it.

Kira Aszman

What materials do you like to work with?

Age

I mostly make illustrations with ink and gouache, but I also like to make collages out of paper scraps and images from antique National Geographic magazines.

19 What is your current location? New York, NY

What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on?

Where are you from?

I’m home working on some Christmas themed tarantula collages and some poems currently.

Portland, OR

What music do you listen to while working?

What is your current occupation?

Swans, Mazzy Star, X, Elvis Depressedly, Why?, Connan Mockasin, The Velvet Underground.

Student Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught? I’m mostly self taught, but have just finished my first semester of art classes at Parsons.

Where do you like to work? I work best alone in my room at my desk, usually with Spotify playing on my computer and my bag of pens and brushes dumped out everywhere.

What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most?

What is one of your earliest memories of making art?

This is a big question. I’m usually interested in things that are creep me out. I also like anything that has a way of pointing out beauty in mundane stuff. My favorite novel is White Noise by Don DeLillo. It haunts me on a daily basis. Some of my favorite poets are Sam Pink, Mira Gonzalez, and Mike Young. Sam pink has a book of poems called Frowns Need Friends Too that can put you in this weird mood of feeling totally heinous but simultaneously really glad about it. I think that state of mind is really valuable for making art. I admire how ads in the free section of Craigslist almost always sound like poetry and they don’t know it. As far as films go, I love El Topo and Boogie Nights and Don Hertzfeldt’s animations. There’s also this Austrian horror film called Angst that is so visually beautiful and disturbing. I’ve liter-

My mom saved this series of drawings I made when I was three where all the characters (people, cats, suns, clouds, etc) are all pooping and peeing. I think I vaguely remember my mom telling me that these were okay to make at home but I shouldn’t draw people pooping and peeing when I was with other kids at preschool.

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Where To Find Them Websites: http://kiraaszman.tumblr.com/ Contact: kiraasz@gmail.com

38 JANUARY•SERENDIPITY


ERIC PAUSE


Eric Pause Name Pause (Or Eric)

What music do you listen to while working?

Age

It’s always changing, but at the moment it’s a lot of Aesop Rock, Ariana Gillis, Bear vs. Shark, Four Tet and Kid Koala.

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Where do you like to work?

What is your current location?

In limos, outer space or underground. However, I usually settle for my basement.

Edmonton, Alberta Where are you from? Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario What is your current occupation? Amateur artist / Elijah Wood look-a-like Do you have any training or formal education in the field of art you work in, or are you self taught?

What is one of your earliest memories of making art? I can remember being in kindergarten making mixed media pictures using various items that the teacher had brought in. Noodles, construction paper, pipe cleaners, etc. One of those items was a big box of Honeycomb cereal. I didn’t have the sugary cereal at home. It was Cheerios at best. I decided to make my piece entirely out of Honeycomb. But really I just sneakily ate it all and drew a dinosaur instead. To this day my pieces are 90% Honeycomb cereal that doesn’t make it onto the final product.

I do not. However I’ve googled a few things. What people, books, films, (etc…) inspire you the most? Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Linklater, Kaws, John Steinbeck, Faile, Huck Gee, Wes Anderson, Greg Simkins, Espo, Banksy, Bill Murray. What materials do you like to work with? I like Cel-vinyl on canvas. It gives nice crisp opaque colours. What pieces, projects, or collaborations are you currently working on? More designer vinyl pieces at the moment, as well as a new series of canvases.

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Where To Find Them Websites: pausedesigns.com Contact: eric@pausedesigns.com

42 JANUARY•SERENDIPITY


FORGE. ISSUE 6: SERENDIPITY


SOPHIA BENNETT HOLMES

by MATTHEW JAMES-WILSON

Young and Hungry is a new section I’m introducing in this issue to sort of bridge the gap

between our typical submissions and interviews. With Young and Hungry we’ll track down young people who are just on the cusp of creating their best work and who are hard at work while on their way to starting their career. I’m hoping that through young and hungry FORGE. can provide some of the exposure that these individuals deserve, and can document their work during their salad days. After seeing the video Sophia Bennett Holmes directed for Frankie Cosmos’ “Art School”, I immediately went through all of her work that I could find online, and felt she would be a perfect candidate for this new section.

Where are you from and where do you live currently? I’m from Brooklyn and I live in Brooklyn. Do you have any formal training in your art, or are you mostly self taught? Yes, I go to Cooper Union! How has living in New York impacted you and your work? I guess just being surrounded by so much art all the time. I remember touring other schools like RISD, and they would be like “oh, we’re so close to New York City! We’re just a train ride away,” and I was like, “why not just be in New York where we take trips to Museums all the time” you know? What made you decide to go to Cooper Union? I think one of the reasons why I wanted to go there was there aren’t any majors, so all the other schools –I was applying for film or painting or something, which didn’t feel right because I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and at Cooper I’ve had the chance to try out so many things that I know I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Like, last year I saw animation on the list of classes. I was like, “oh, that sounds cool,” so I took it, and now that’s one of the main things I do. I think it’s really great that we can take whatever we want. How has art school been influential on the way you’ve created things? What’s been beneficial about that environment? I guess in school we’re just in this environment where you can be making stuff for other people to see, which is generally outside of school not really a thing. It’s just great to be somewhere where you’re making things and you bring it to a critique and everybody talks about it, and I know that’s something a lot of us take for granted that when we leave school we’re not going to be having critiques every week. Also, just technically we have so many facilities --actually we don’t have as many facilities as other schools – but to be able to use all the film equipment is really great.


What have you learned through doing stuff outside of school? Have there been specific benefits to the thing’s you’ve done that weren’t assignments? I don’t know because I feel like here we do things independently even when we’re in class. In Film I we sort of had assignments, but they were really loose, and for our final we could do whatever we wanted, so I don’t really feel like there’s a huge difference really because we’re so free to do whatever we want and we’re not really –I don’t know if babied is the word because I don’t think that’s fair to other places- but we’re just really independent to do what we want. How have you delt with people discouraging you from doing what you want to do? Well, I feel really lucky because the people who really matter like my parents support me, and so as long as I have that - their financially helping me. The only thing I can think of is when I went back to high school and I was talking to my French teacher and she’s like, “oh, what are you studying,” and I said I’m studying art and she was like, “Oh, okay. So do you have a back up plan?” I was like “no” but besides that, I think with a lot of supporting people. How did you get the opportunity to direct the “Art School” music video for Frankie Cosmos? I sort of knew her through my brother because her brother is really good friends with my brother, so I had kind of known her and then I heard her music online and really loved it and

FORGE. ISSUE 6: SERENDIPITY


then wrote to her and told her I was in art school, and that I would love to a video if she wanted. And she was like, “yeah! That’d be cool.” I had never really done anything like that before and I guess for me I had been listening to her music a lot and I was like “oh, I would love to do a video for her,” and then I was like I should just ask her, just go for it, which was a good idea I think. What was the process of making that video like? So it was a really long process because I had asked her that before her Zentropy came out, and so I just said I wanted to do a video for her, and she was like, “yeah, do you have any ideas?” and I didn’t have any specific ideas, and then I guess I came up with the idea and met with her and it was just a lot of talking about it, and then just us both being really busy and it taking a really long time to actually be shot because it was shot half a year after we came up with the idea. So it was a really long process. How did it end up premiering on Pitchfork? I didn’t really have to deal with any of that. I just made it and then sent it to her, and I think she sent it to her record label, who sent it out to try to get it premiered on a website, but I didn’t have anything to do with that.

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What did you think of the conspiracy theory video that was made about the video almost immediately after it came out? Yeah, that was amazing. That was the best thing ever actually, and I thought it was really interesting to me because my video was a lot about obsession, and it’s funny because you said that it was about worship which was really interesting, but then his video was really about obsession and worship, so it went really well with it. I was super excited. What’s your earliest memory of making art? I don’t know what my earliest memory is. I feel like when you’re a kid you’re always making art. I don’t know if this is my earliest, but when I was little I remember I loved barbies and one day I was trying to put a dress on a barbie and her head fell off, and I was so upset, and then –it’s really funny now- but I put the Barbie in a crucified position onto a piece of paper and I taped her whole body onto the paper and then I drew all over it, and my parents have that in their bedroom now because they thought it was genius. And it eased the pain of the loss of my Barbie. When did you know you wanted to study art? Well, I went to an artsy high school, but I started there in music, and then at a certain point knew that I didn’t want to study music and I switched into the art program and I think at that point, maybe junior year of high school when I was really in the art program and oil painting and stuff that I knew I wanted to go to school for that. How has the internet impacted your ability to get more people to see your work? That’s interesting. Because I feel like I don’t use the internet as much as a lot of people do to put my work out, I guess just the Frankie Cosmos video being out and having so much of an audience where I definitely wouldn’t have that without the internet, but besides that maybe it doesn’t impact the way I do anything. Like maybe it’s an afterthought to put stuff up online. Has the “Art School” video impacted what you want to do in the future? I don’t know. I feel like it was so recently that I haven’t even been able to think about how it’s affected my work, but it is really interesting because that video felt really like something done sort of isolated, like there wasn’t really a crew. It was me and Greta and my friend Isabelle, and we were in this room, and nobody was in her house at that time and just this tiny isolated thing that happened one day, and then to have it be out in the world and be seen by people is a really strange thing. But I’m not sure how it’s affected me at all. What projects are you currently working on? I just finished shooting this film with my friend. Should I explain it? It’s sort of hard to explain because I’m not even sure what it’s going to be really, which is a first because I feel like I’m somebody who plans things a lot and know what I’m doing before I do it, and for this one, I’m trying to be okay with improvising a little bit. The main idea is it’s supposed to be the end of a movie, and I’ve been interested, especially in film and in my drawings, in the idea that people really look for narratives in things, or making something that suggests that there should be a clear narrative, and then confusing that narrative, so putting a lot of symbols into things that people might read into more than they might actually mean, so this film is sort of the end of a movie and it’s this damsel-in-distress character who’s running away and it seems like she’s

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FORGE. ISSUE 6: SERENDIPITY


killed somebody but you don’t really know who he is or where she’s going, but I’m also still figuring it out. And there’s going to be this voice over, but I’m figuring out what it’s going to be. Is there a specific tone that you try to implement through-out your work? I guess it changes really between mediums, and I think there’s a feeling throughout all of them, but there’s something about childhood in all of my work, and I think in these collage-y things I’ve been doing, I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to say childish, but definitely handmade. I’m interested in things that are handmade because that sort of brings up childhood and dioramas, and I’m interested in making things with my hands, so I think that comes up. And definitely girly, like being a girl is a big part of me. And so that comes up a lot, I think. Is most of your work done on film? I took video last semester. But, yeah, no it’s film. We use a Bolex in the film classes here, and we have other cameras, but a Bolex is a wind up camera, so it doesn’t have any batteries and it’s all motor, and yeah, and it’s a little, kind of big film camera. It’s cool. Film is funny because it’s really really expensive and you don’t know what you’re going to get from it, so it’s always really scary, but it also makes it really satisfying when you get it back because it’s also pretty forgiving. I’m always afraid that things are not going to come out at all, and they do and it’s fine. But yeah, I think shooting in film is good, for me, because you can’t –or you can, but it’s expensive to reshoot a lot of things- so everything I’ve filmed film there’s been one take of everything, and so it makes you really think about it more. I mean, it’s a little precious, but that seems like a bad thing, and I think that is sort of a good thing in this case. Is there anything that you know you want to accomplish with your work yet? I don’t know because I feel like I’m always changing what I’m doing, but I am really interested in film and would love to keep making films and I’m really into oil painting right now and want to keep painting a lot. And I would love to keep doing things outside of school and making music videos, especially because music videos are a way for a lot of people to see what you’re doing because not a lot of people are going to be watching these art films, but you can make a music video and anybody’s going to watch it, so it’s a good medium to be making short films. Is it important to you to work in a range of mediums? Have you learned things from working in one, that have impacted how you approach the another one? Well, I think the great thing about doing a lot of things is that everything sort of informs everything else, and so I don’t feel like I’m half a painting student and half a film student and a half whatever else. I just feel like I’m an art student and I’m doing everything, and I kind of feel like that’s how it should be. You should be allowed to do whatever you want because when you’re making art your work is your work and it doesn’t quite matter what the medium is, but then I think in different materials. Everything definitely does influence everything else.

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PENELOPE GAZIN

by MATTHEW JAMES-WILSON

Few illustrators use the freedom they have with their work nearly as much as Penelope Gazin. Although Penelope has

only been working professionally for the past five or so years since she dropped out of Cal Arts, she’s done editorial work for a handful of magazines, art for Burger Records, animation work for Fox, and has tons of her own physical goods through her etsy shop; yet none of her crass aesthetic and sense of humor has really been compromised in anything she’s done. Penelope has worked incredibly hard and has an enormous volume of work to show for it, for someone who’s work evokes such apathetic and irreverent vibes.

Penelope is now in preparation for her big move to New York City, and is excited about a lot of the changes that are going

to come with it. Saying goodbye to a lot of friends and a cool art and music scene is always hard, but I’m sure the confidence and willingness Penelope brings to everything she does will allow her to settle in here almost immediately.

Where are you from and where do you live currently? I grew up in Connecticut and came out to California for college Do you have any formal training in your art, or are you mostly self taught? My mother, grandfather, grandmother, aunt, uncle, and older brother are professional artists. So in my family I’m very unoriginal. I loved making stuff as a kid but I never thought I wanted to be an artist until I was much older. What was your experience like at Cal Arts? I started out at Calarts in the fine art program which was a huge joke. You could get a better art education at a

community college for 10% of the price. I switched to Character Animation which was an amazing program filled with dedicated talented students. It couldn’t have been more different. I dropped out after a year and half though because it was expensive and I realized I was working independently and not getting as much from the program as I should have been. How do you feel the current cost of college is affecting art education? Do you think more people are just now resorting to learning more things on their own? I think art school for the most part is unnecessary. Most of the kids are there to jerk off and don’t end up pursuing art after they graduate. Also I couldn’t believe how much it was just like an expensive summer camp. I dropped out of Calarts and continued to make work on my own

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while taking a few community college courses. My advice to not rich kids who want to go to art school: move to a town that’s right near an art school and be a townie and go to their events and make friends with the kids but take classes at a community college. You will have just as much fun. Or go to art school for a year and then drop out and continue to hang around for a few more years. You have to be self motivated and know what you want to make to pull this off though. I have yet to miss an opportunity because I don’t have a college degree. How has living in LA affected your work? I don’t think LA has affected my work. Maybe its made my work a little sadder. What are you most excited about with moving to New York, and what are you dreading most? Papa Gazin: “It’s cool to be dumb in LA. It’s not cool to dumb in New York”. LA has some great things and some great people but its not the ideal place for me (suck my dick bottom feeders). What first got you interested in Animation?  I loved animation growing up (mostly 30’s cartoons we had on VHS) but I never thought of it as art or a possible

career. I got to Calarts and realized all the talent was in the character animation program and thought “oh so I guess this is where I belong”. How did you end up working at Fox? What was your time like working there? The amazing Ben Jones (aka BJ) hired me. I loved working with him because he straddles both the fine art and animation worlds very gracefully. I loved working there. It was basically the animation dream job I thought I would never have. I had total freedom to write design and animate whatever gifs I wanted. I left because I was running my Etsy shop and doing freelance work and was working much more than I needed to. I knew I had to cut out one of my three jobs and fox took up the most time and paid the least. When I was in Art school I never imagined I would have this problem. It didn’t seem like I fit in perfectly into any part of the animation industry (not fast enough for storyboarding not adaptable enough for character design etc.)  but I guess if you just make stuff people like the industry finds a place for you. When did you start doing work with Burger Records? I met the Burger Records guys when I was doing art for a band called Pangea. They liked my covers so they asked me to do some pins and connected me with other bands. They are the sweetest guys and really respectful clients

“Papa Gazin: ‘It’s cool to be dumb in LA. It’s not cool to dumb in New York’”

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“Here is my ultimate mega secret to (moderate) success: have fun and be a quitter.  If something is boring or I don’t feel like is worth my time, I just quit. It’s gotten me in trouble my whole life but its apparently worked out for me. All of my pursuits are things I do for fun. If your not having fun, your art will probably suck.” but everyone knows that about them. How did your recent Wiener Records cassette come together? The album is all over the place and doesn’t make sense but I just wanted to put something out and not be too precious about it. I get very confused when I get fan messages because about half of these songs were recorded when I had no plans to show them to anyone ever. A lot of them are recorded in one go and I burp in the middle of one of the songs. They were just for myself. I’m not a great musician and I’m not a great singer but I put a lot of my personality and my feelings into the songs in the same way that I put my personality into my illustrations. Its both therapeutic and fun and just another creative outlet for me and all my stupid feelings.  It took me a while to be okay with sharing things with the public that I knew I wasn’t great at but its a liberating feeling. “Look at this

thing I made that isn’t very good or impressive but I had a lot of fun making it so I want to share it with whomever cares!” I remember the first time I posted a song thinking “this makes me look like a talentless wannabe lame-oid but that is totally okay.” I used to be very  careful with what parts of myself I revealed to the world; obsessively curating only my best qualities and achievements. But now I just share whatever I want to share and I don’t worry about it and I’m free. I figure for every person you turn off with your true self you at least turn one person on. If you can think of a less stupid way of saying it other than “true self” please tell me because I need new words for this stuff. Obviously I’m not totally “free” because I describe a lot of things I do as being “stupid” as a partial defense mechanism. But I’m also not afraid to admit that some of the things I make are fucking badass and I know it.

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What made you decide to first open up your Etsy shop? Were there any expectations that you had about producing your own merch and selling it online that changed after you started doing it?

instead because thats more fun to draw.

Starting my own business was sort of an accident. I needed to get a summer job when I was 16 but no one would hire me because I got a bad ‘tude. I started selling vintage clothes on ebay and eventually switched over to Etsy. I then started having pins made with my art on them and they kept selling so I kept making more pins and more merch. My company name “Penelope Meatloaf” was actually my 6th grade AIM screenname that became my ebay username and then carried over to Etsy. Total accident.

I put a lot of my feelings that I feel uncomfortable communicating with words, into my art. There’s a lot of Sex, Slime and Sadness. The Sss of life. What’s your relationship like with your brother Nick Gazin? Has he affected your art at all, or the way you approach getting your work out?

What are some good rules to set for yourself when running your own online store? You don’t have to be organized, you don’t have to be precious, you just have to ship your items out right away. Also don’t try to emulate someone else’s shop or feel like you need to do things a certain way. Just ask yourself “would I shop here?” What methods have you used to most effectively get your work out to other people Tumblr has been great. Overall though I don’t think I really “hustle”. I try to just focus on making art I like, putting it on tumblr, and then letting other people spread it around the internet for me. I always tell artists who are trying to get more work to do three things 1. start a tumblr you idiot. I hired two people as gif makers for Fox that I just found on tumblr and they didn’t even live in LA or ever worked in animation  2. Start an Etsy shop and sell prints and pins you idiot 3. Make pins with your art on them you idiot. Even if you just give them away. Free advertising. You Idiot. Your work in a really wide array of mediums, from animation, to clothing, to self published zines, to music with your band Sadwich, and produce work at an incredibly high quality for your age. Do you have different approaches for each medium that you work it? Do you often feel like some of your ideas will translate better with in specific mediums? Wow thanks! Here is my ultimate mega secret to (moderate) success: have fun and be a quitter.  If something is boring or I don’t feel like is worth my time, I just quit. It’s gotten me in trouble my whole life but its apparently worked out for me. All of my pursuits are things I do for fun. If your not having fun your art will probably suck. I also forget that there aren’t rules in art and I often get stuck when trying to adhere to them. I have to remind myself that if I don’t feel like drawing a nose than there shouldn’t be a nose and I should just put an eyeball there

How would you describe the tone and aesthetic of your work?

My brother is 6 years older so we weren’t that close growing up. I always thought he was really cool and he just thought I was annoying and stupid.  We have been getting along really well because we are extremely similar but he used to be very competitive with me. Our work has a lot of similar themes. I think sometimes I copy him a little bit but then I also have to remember that we both grew up with very strange and specific cultural influences that most people are not exposed to. Our dad is a huge old movie buff and fan of all things pre 1960’s. Our house was covered in old movie posters, magic tricks, and vintage toys. Also our mom used to work in watercolor a lot which my brother and I both predominantly work in. My mom’s technical style is a pretty close mixture of mine and my brothers so we certainly got our mark making from her. You seem to have a really good ability at maintaining a lot of professional relationships with people/ companies such as Burger Records, Pangea, Vice, etc... How do you stay in touch with the client’s you do work for, and how do you get them to keep coming back to you? Making a career as an artist is really easy. All you have to do is blow a “rockstar” for 4 years and do his album covers for free and have your brother be an editor for a big magazine. So fucking easy.  How do you feel the internet has impacted art and how people view it? I owe my life to the internet. I would have no career without it.  Thank you weirdo pervs of the internet for letting me be a weirdo perv. I still can’t believe that it’s my jobto be the person I thought no one wanted me to be growing up. I still can’t really believe it. Are there any clients or company’s you would like to do work for in the future? I want to be in Juxtapoz already. I’m not really sure I’m the right fit but hopefully I will get too popular for them to just ignore me.

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What do you feel you’ve learned form working for large companies, and what have you learned from working for yourself?

made but know I am capable of making.

I’ve built my practice so that there really isn’t much difference between making work for large companies and making work for myself. I won’t take on a job unless I will find it artistically gratifying and enjoyable. When I have a client I will just sort of tweak something  I wanted to paint anyways so that it fits the assignment.

butts

What was one of your earliest memories of making art? I did a bunch of summersaults in my moms belly just to freak her out and let her know she had a little one coming that was just gonna do whatever she wants. Fetus performance art. Have you always been so self motivated? It seems like that’s a huge part of how you’ve accomplished so much in such a short amount of time! I don’t think of myself as being self motivated at all. Sometimes I am. But sometimes I stay in bed all week long and watch Buffy and don’t shower or see people. I’m not depressed but sometimes I live my life like a severely depressed person. I hate myself for all the great art I haven’t

What are some of your favorite materials to work with?

What artists, films, music, books, etc… have had a big impact on you and your work? I love the aesthetic of the past. I can’t replicate (nor do I want to) but it is certainly present in my work. I love Henry Darger and Dan Clowes. Also Medieval Hell Mouth paintings and vintage pornography. What contemporary artists have influenced you? The 90’s band B*witched Are there any projects you would like to embark on, but that you just don’t have the time or funding for right now? I have the time and funds to do anything I want really which is scarier than not having the time or funds to do something. I used to be ambitious but for now I just want to stay in my dark room and paint things that I have fun painting. I am content with that.

“I owe my life to the internet. I would have no career without it.”

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MIKE SNIPER

by MATTHEW JAMES-WILSON (Additional Photography by JOHN ERBACH)

The context of the first time I met Mike Sniper sort of reflects a lot about him. Back in September, as I was leaving Baby’s

All Right after an amazing Beach Fossils show, I ran into Mike hanging out in the back of the venue. I took a chance and went up to say “hi” and thank him for all of the amazing stuff he’s done running Captured Tracks along with his new label group Omnian. His reaction was really warm and inviting, and he asked what my name was and what I did. I told him I was running this magazine by myself,and that I was lucky enough to do an interview with Ryan McCardle (Captured Track’s art director) a few issues back. He then said “Oh yeah? Ryan’s great! You should interview me for your magazine”. I just sort of started stuttering from then on, trying to express how excited I would be to do that. Once I got home I frantically emailed Ryan to see if I could get Mike’s contact information, assuring him that this wasn’t in fact a hoax, and with in a few days I was conducting the following interview with someone who’s largely to thank for a lot of the music that has helped shape me during my formative years.

Where are you from and where do you live currently? I grew up on the Jersey Shore. Toms River. About an hour and a half from both NYC and Philadelphia. Pretty normal suburban sprawl kind of place. No real “center of town” kid of feel because most of it was developed in the 80’s and 90’s. The ‘Shore itself has a lot of character, of course. Currently I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Been living in metropolitan NYC since I started school at Parsons in ‘96 with the exception of a year here and there in Chicago, Ann Arbor, Providence... That’s crazy! I’m actually currently a Freshman at Parsons. What was your experience studying there like? I wasn’t prepared to be completely removed from academics. I was an arty kid in high school who got good grades, tested well, AP classes. Parsons is a great school but maybe too mechanical and not as analytic as I felt I wanted at the time, if I’m going to be honest? Plus it was full on Rave-era. “Kids” had just come out. People were going clubbing and doing Ketamin. Lots of techno blasting out of every room. Jungle. Not my scene, really. I definitely thought I was going to meet a lot of weirdo rockers, haha. Not so much. I think I found two guys in my dorm into very rote indie/punk/psych stuff like Syd Barrett, Joy Division and Sonic Youth. Not even esoteric stuff.  My roommate was Peter Bauer, who wound up being in the Walkmen. He was super cool. We just watched a ton of Twin Peaks and listened to a lot of Nick Cave.  I also kind of missed the “college” sort of thing you see in movies, I might have been better off starting at a liberal arts school. At the time New School wasn’t a University.  I did meet a lot of interesting people there, though. Lots of characters. Good and bad.

How has living in New York impacted your life, and how do you feel things would have turned out differently, if you had never lived here? I think anyone who lives in NYC will tell you that the cost of living and survival is always a real motivating factor. Slackers don’t do really well here. It’s a place for artistic people who have a really strong work ethic. That combination is really hard to find, which is why a lot of people don’t wind up staying here for very long.   How did Captured Tracks first come into conception? Well, I’d had a reissue-only label called Radio Heartbeat which I co-owned with another person. We kinda went our separate ways because I wanted to release different kinds of music than what the label was focused on (Powerpop and Glam Rock stuff). I was interested in newer bands and had been more-or-less doing A&R for In The Red Records. Larry Hardy did an LP with my act at the time, Blank Dogs, and I started bringing him bands to be rostermates, Vivian Girls, Fresh and Onlys and Oh Sees to some degree. Eventually I decided to start doing my own label and the first release was the first vinyl appearance of Dum Dum Girls, an EP.   Have you had a consistent goal with Captured Tracks, or a specific motivation for what you wanted to do with the label? Has that ever changed, or have you been surprised by the things you’ve been able to do with the label? When it started there was no real goal. I think there’s a direction now, but it’s not a narrow field of vision in what we do, especially with the whole label group now, I mean with Omnian I can do whatever I want, sign new bands, work with other partners, it’s great. And C/T runs parallel to that, staying the course. I suppose C/T, depending on who you ask at any given point, is either the “Smallest Big Indie” or the “Biggest Small Indie.” I’d like to see C/T and

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“ I know the long waiting period from being done with an LP and dying for it to come out so you can move on. I think a lot of label heads don’t understand that frustration. Only artist-run labels like Merge, Dischord and DFA can probably relate.” the rest of the Label Group grow comparable to Beggars Group Labels and Domino... Warp, Mute... Those things take time but we’re on the right path.

ably relate. It’s weird how similar things become though, I completely understand why it has to be the way it is being on the other side. 

How much of your experience in Blank Dogs, and just having friends in bands, affected the way you wanted to run the label?

Do you feel it’s important to have specific ethics when running a label?

Well, for one, I know the trials and tribulations of touring. I know the long waiting period from being done with an LP and dying for it to come out so you can move on. I think a lot of label heads don’t understand that frustration. Only artist-run labels like Merge, Dischord and DFA can prob-

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I’m not sure what you mean by specific ethics, I think it’s the same ethics you’d bring with you to any business. Do your best to do right be the people you work with. Be fair and honest. Make sure you’re responsible to yourself and your employees with business decisions. I think a car dealer might say the same thing, boring as it seems. 


presence we have now we’d mostly find people who are just happy to see their release come to life. Along with the success of the label has come the expectation that A pretty massive amount. There were labels where I’d buy anything we touch will turn to gold and that’s not true. We anything from when I found them, like the logo triggered just provide an opportunity, no guarantees. When we talk some “must own” kind of reaction in my brain. 4AD in the to bands now we’re a little more guarded then we used to 80’s/90’s, Flying Nun for sure, Wax Trax!, I would check be. The last two years have seen a surprising amount of out anything on Warp in the 90’s. Dischord. SST. Matador.  deals with bands fall through right at the point of signing. I like labels that have a presence and a fanbase as labels I suppose it’s growing pains. We’re in a bit of a signing but that identifier doesn’t predominate the bands. I’m sure spree right now spread over the label group. Dinner is there are people who buy records because of the label the first new signing for C/T in a very long time, and I bebranding and will give anything we do a chance, but I lieve the only band we signed in 2014 (save the one we’re also like there are people who are huge fans of DIIV, Mac about to!) Sinderlyn is flourishing with new talent. Walter DeMarco or ild Nothing and have no idea they’re all on TV, Homeshake, Girl Tears...  the same label. That’s the way it should be. Contemporaries? I dunno if I’d say they have a big impact, per se, In terms of allowing bands to make great music, pretty but I respect and follow labels like Sacred Bones, RVNG, much the word “allow” is the key. We like to think when we start working with a band they’re “almost there” in there Woodsist, Slumberland... sound and aesthetic and we help them realize that. Not so I’m also really into Jazz so I’m always looking to get more much in the actual musicality but we give them a platform Blue Note, Riverside and Impulse records. I love the look and put eyes on them to react. It’s all how they react to the new attention. of those records, too. What past and contemporary labels have had a big impact on you?

Through out your time running the label, you’ve seemed to have an incredible ability to find young and eager musicians both in and outside of New York, and have allowed them to really flourish through out their releases. How do you approach finding new music, and what do you feel is important to allow bands to continue making great music?

What led to the decision to start Omnian?

It’s changed a bit. I think before when we didn’t have the

I’d say a good 50% of the people currently working at

Catalog expansion, wanting to get more staff in to service more catalog without diluting what Captured Tracks is by trying to sign too much to it.   How do you go about finding staff?

“ There were labels where I’d buy anything from when I found them, like the logo triggered some ‘must own’ kind of reaction in my brain.”

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CT/OMG were former interns. It pays to intern! The rest I’d known from the industry.   It’s really cool that you’ve been able to set up your headquarters in the neighborhood not only where you live, but close to where a lot of the bands on the label live. Was that a conscious thought at all when first opening up your office in Greenpoint? We just moved the office to “Industrial East Williamsburg” which, to me, is Bushwick. I love these new real estate neighborhoods. The store is still in Greenpoint, where I live, though. Was cool to be in Greenpoint as that’s where Sacred Bones, Mexican Summer, Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, RVNG etc are in... but it’s also good to be out of Greenpoint for the same reason. I have friends at all those labels but a little space isn’t the worst thing in the world!  Clearly a lot has changed with the production of vinyl, and number of places that still press it in the U.S. Has that ever been an issue for the label, or has it been frustrating to have to wait to get physical release made? I hate it. It’s like the hard work all the smaller labels have done to make vinyl viable again, because we didn’t destroy the CD format like the majors did, has resulted in all of them jamming up pressing plants with hundreds of thousands classic rock records. I’m all for Fleetwood Mac, Neil

Young and Bob Dylan being in print on vinyl. It’s cool. But, not when the majors aren’t reconstructing the plants they put out of business in the first place. It’s like I have to tell my bands “Yeah, I know you’re going on tour in 2 months but this tiny plant is making 500,000 copies of Dark Side of the Moon and they don’t care about our 10,000 we put in line for pressing 4 months ago anymore...” I mean, it does no good to complain. It is what it is. We’ll adapt. Has it always been really important to you to pick up bands that haven’t really made any releases yet? Ho do you think that’s affected Captured Tracks as a whole? “Zero” releases isn’t really the key, it’s no “major” releases. For example, Naomi Punk’s first LP existed on Couple Skate (a label now a part of OMG, funnily enough) but it only had a few hundred pressed. We loved it, saw the band and were floored with the live show so we picked up the LP and re-did it. Perfect Pussy obviously had out their demo tape, which really made a lot of noise around the internet but it was just a cassette/bandcamp thing. For C/T, as long as a band doesn’t have a widely distributed LP out, they’re definitely up for consideration. Sinderlyn doesn’t have that policy. We’re talking to a few well known artists to sign as we speak. 

“We like to think when we start working with a band they’re “almost there” in there sound and aesthetic and we help them realize that.”

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In terms of C/T more or less breaking it’s artists as opposed to signing known bands, I think it has shaped us. We take more chances and sometimes that really pays off and other times it hasn’t worked. It’s just more interesting to me to develop a band then to just provide the necessary upgrades for an already existing success. I totally understand why other labels do it, just not for C/T.   How do you feel music and bands in New York have changed since you started the label? NYC is funny. It’s a 10 year cycle of where the spotlight lands. Every 5 years it goes from guitar oriented music to electronic. Experimental re-energizes everything in between. All those things are always going, just whatever the main press outlet for music is at the time, be it Village Voice back in the day or Pitchfork and other web-based publications now, chooses to focus the spotlight on. Right now it’s New Aesthetic/Indie R&B, Post-Hardcore and Noise, indie Hip Hop. The guitar rock boom from 5-6 years ago has lulled, but it will be back, and vice versa. Right now reminds me of 10 Years Ago... kinda post-Strokes/ Liars/Walkmen era of NYC where people started getting into more aggressive/noisy music and dance/electronic. That’s what brought on Black Dice on one hand and DFA and all that on the other. It’s all these niches evolving on their own and then when they’re featured, it’s always like “Out of nowhere!” and all the participants are always saying “Yeah, this has been happening for a long time, actually...” Fashion and Visual Art tends to follow the same rules, not surprising. What are some of your favorite up and coming labels? You know, I don’t know if I’m totally qualified to answer this? I used to be on top of everything when I was a buyer at a record store. I do try to keep up now that I own one, but I’m always late on stuff. I like the reissues Blackest Ever Black and People’s Potential Unlimited do. Hard for me to pin down labels working with predominantly new artists, though I know they are out there. Looking around the web, seems the vast majority of articles with “Labels to Look Out For in 2014/2013..” seem to be Neo-House, indie R&B, EDM, etc. Makes sense considering what seems to be the zeitgeist these days. I like some of it. Starting up a label is obviously not an easy or simple task, but clearly because of the internet and the fact that tools to make and record music are becoming cheaper and more available, many people have been able to start up their own small labels, and put out music that’s important to them. How do you feel about the recent influx of small (mostly cassette based) labels? Honestly, I think crowdsourced releases and bandcamponly labels are kind of diluting the A&R for a label. I personally feel like you have to work your ass off to save money for a legit vinyl release so when you do find the

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band that’s worth it you really believe in it. I think cassettes are great for smaller labels, I just think they need to be a launching point for bigger things. You can “sign” a bajillion bands and do a digital release for them and maybe some will “hit” and then you make the physical, but you have a super diluted vision if that’s the case. I started the label at Academy Records (as did Caleb from Sacred Bones) and we both worked our full 8 hour shift, then went to the basement to work on our labels. If you don’t work hard you’ll never see results and I’ve come to believe without incentive of commitment via labor/time you won’t be as successful. You have to put it all on the line and be in danger of going bankrupt for 2 years, basically. If someone was interested in starting their own label, what advice would you give to them, and what are good first steps towards starting one? Firstly, only work with bands you 100% believe in. Secondly, create a physical product where you have a very real incentive to make sure it does well because of your investment.  Thirdly, don’t be afraid to expand and hire people when the time comes. Do not cut yourself a check or live off the label as your sole means of income for at least 2-3 years. Do you feel like it’s important to put some sort of risk or investment into releasing something, so that you’re more motivated to get it out there? More because of belief in the product and to keep your A&R in check. You can’t afford to release 20 LP’s the first year you exist. So you need to hone in, one at a time. When you have the income of catalog to do 10-12 LP’s real justice, then you can do that. What’s your earliest memory of making or listening to music? Listening: My sister got the “Come On, Eileen” 45 when I must have been 2 or 3? Listened to it all the time. First LP I asked my dad to buy me was Prince’s Purple Rain and/ or Van Halen’s 1984 (got both at the same time.) First time I actually picked out stuff to buy at a shop $10 was the Metallica One Cassingle and The Cure The Top. Playing: In middle school, playing terrible drums and menial bass in punk bands. Then in high school getting a personal computer and using early tracking software and a 4-Track to make really bad electronic music after I started listening to Eno, Aphex Twin and found old Cabaret Voltaire and stuff like that in the $1.00 cassette bin at the Camelot Music at the Ocean County Mall. 


The FORGE. Review is a new section I’m introducing in this issue to cover and document all of the shows and events I’ve had the opportunity to go to since moving to New York for college. Since this is the first time we’re doing this, “fall” is just going to mean the whole first semester, and will span from late August to early December. Photography by Matthew James-Wilson


Kaye Blegvad Rachael Cole Leah Goren Masuko Jo Rachel Levit Monica Ramos Gina Rockenwagner Julia Rothman


Sometimes is a seasonal pop-up shop featuring the work of some of the most incredible contemporary illustrators, designers and makers right now: Kaye Blegvad, Rachael Cole, Leah Goren, Masuko Jo, Rachel Levit, Monica Ramos, Gina Rockenwagner, and Julia Rothman. All of the artists involved are friends from a variety of differnt artistic backgrounds who, through the shop, have applied their skills to differnt mediums in order to make these beautiful, one of a kind, objects. Monica Ramos asked us if we could help them document the set up and opening of this year’s shop. Photography by John Erbach & Matthew James-Wilson


Best Shows By Matthew James-Wilson

this is just a handful of the shows that i had the pleasure of seeing over the past few months, that really stuck out in my mind. i sort of kept a mental diary of what happened at each show i went to, who i went with, and who i met as a result of going. over the summer, right before i moved to new york, i made the two posters included here, out of pure anticipation and excitement about all the shows i was no longer going to miss out on. i sent both posters to the respective people in chanrge of each show, and both ended up being used (which i honestly still can’t believe). making both some how led to me doing design work for the bowery presents in the fall, and i am forever greatful to both greta kline and noah lennox for being responsible for a lot of what’s happened to me since making them.

August 14th @ MoMA

Frankie Cosmos

i am absolutely certain that this show will serve as one of the most important concerts i’ve ever attended in my life, and will be one of my fondest memories of living in new york. this particular show was especially significant for me for a variety of reasons. august 14th not only marked the date of the first frankie cosmos show I’d ever gone to, but was also the day i moved to new york for college, the first day I met my future roommate, kenneth christian, the first time i saw one of my future best friends sean kennedy, the first time i met greta, and it was one of the first shows i ever made a gig poster for. the whole show sort of set the tone for the months that followed it, and the performance left a lasting impression on me.

September 13th @ The Bowery Ballroom

Mutual Benefit/Soft Cat/Bellows September 23rd @ Irving Plaza

Panda Bear/Blues Control September 26th @ Baby’s All Right

Beach Fossils/Heavenly Beat/Axxa/Abraxas going to this show was one of the first times i hung out with one of my best friends, kira. i got the tickets really far in advance over the summer, almost immediately after i heard it was happening. the show was nonstop dancing, and beach fossils even covered white girl by X (a band kira had recently gotten me into). one of the coolest parts of the show was that many of the people from captured tracks were just hanging out at the show, like cole from diiv (with sky of course), jack from wild nothing, and katie garcia, having just as fun of a time as any of the fans. i actually ran into mike sniper at the end of the show and thanked him for everything he’s done with the label, which ended up leading to his interview in this issue!

October 17th @ Baby’s All Right

Porches./Frankie Comsos/Regal Degal/Rivergazer this show doubled as a big home coming for porches. and frankie cosmos, who had been on tour across country together for a month, and a celebration of baby’s all right’s first birthday. in true baby’s all right fashion, everyone was in really great spirits, and the night got weirder as the show progressed. at some point before or during porches’ set, the guys who ran the venue brought out a massive homemade sheet cake and got everyone to sing happy birthday while one of them danced around in a baby costume. they passed out slices of cake from the stage to people in the crowd, and porches. then proceeded to play a bunch of new songs from the album they just started recording. then by the end of the set, they crowd surfed the cake pan, and people began grabbing chunks of it and flinging it around. somehow, the cake pan ended up in my hands as everyone behind me started leaving the venue. i wandered around aimlessly in the emptying crowd baring the weight of the disfigured cake, trying to find someone to return it to. after like 10 minutes i finally found someone, who just told me to throw out the whole thing out, so i proceeded to shove it into the near by trash can and started following the crowd outside. then all of a sudden, realizing this was sort of a one in a life time opportunity, i went back and pulled the pan out of the trash and rose it over my head so i could exit with the crowd. once got outside i found kira and scrapped the remains of the cake into each of the trash cans we passed by on the way to the L train. when i got home, totally covered in frosting, i washed the pan in the bath tub, went to bed, and eventually woke up with a horrible cold. the pan still stands hanging up in my room to this day.

October 24th @ Silent Barn

Miscreant & Father/Daughter present: Conscious Coupling FORGEARTMAG.COM 77


October 25th @ Cake Shop

TONSTARTSSBANDHT after begging the bouncer outside of cake shop to let me in for the for the free 21+ cmj show that was taking place in the venue’s basement on a saturday afternoon, he reluctantly took his sharpie out and drew an x on the back of each of my hands. TONSTARTSSBANDHT was just about to start setting up, so i ran down stairs, and found a spot right in front of the “stage” which was about half a foot off of the ground. once andy and edwin got on stage, they set up and inconspicuously eased into one of my favorite songs from their album overseas, alright. they were only able to get through two of their songs before their 30 minutes were up. but with in that short half hour, the range of sounds and emotions the filled air of the sparse basement was infectious and left me glowing the whole walk home.

October 25th @ Death By Audio

Porches./TOPS/Lydia Ainsworth/Regal Degal rip dba :’(

November 4th @ Terminal 5

Mac Demarco/Connan Mockasin/King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard December 5th @ Shea Stadium

Elvis Depressedly/Told Slant/Bellows/Yours Are The Only Ears this show was highly anticipated by a lot of my friends from when it was announced. and once december 5th finally rolled around, the show exceeded every expectation any of us had. i don’t think i’ve ever seen so much emotion, enthusiasm, and focus from a crowd at any other diy show i’ve ever been to. each band played an incredible set that enveloped all the space inside shea stadium, and consumed everyone present. every time a song would end, i would turn around and see a handful of people in tears. maybe it’s because shea is on the second floor of a building, but by the time elvis depressedly got on stage and tore through his set, it felt like the whole room was just ascending upward.

December 9th @ The Bowery Ballroom

Angel Olsen/Lionlimb

December 17th @ The Studio at Webester Hall

Ronald Paris (Porches. Solo Set)/Frankie Cosmos (Solo Set) i went to this show with my roommate’s best friend from high school, john erbach, right after going to the omnian/captured tracks office to photograph mike sniper together. i was totally speechless through out both greta (frankie cosmos) and aaron’s (porches.) performances. greta played a whole slew of songs that she wouldn’t typically play with her band including smartly, embody, being alive, high there ronni under water, and do i really wanna wonder forever? (all of which have been permanently stuck in my head for the past semester). when aaron went on he played a handful of new porches songs, totally recontextualizing them from the normal band set up, making a looping pre-made drum loop and synth sound more beautiful than ever.

December 18th @ The Knitting Factory

Mitski/Bellows/Small Wonder (Solo Set)/100 Watt Horse

Shows I Wish I Had Gone To August 16th @ Central Park Summerstage

Blood Orange/Moses Sumney/Sean Nicholas Savage October 30th @ The Bowery Ballroom

The Coathangers/Together Pangea/Cherry Glazerr/ AJ Davila & Terror Amor/Mozes & The Firstborn/Wax Witches FORGEARTMAG.COM 77


You Should Check Out... By Matthew James-Wilson

Bands/Musicians

The Epoch

it’s pretty much impossible to try to cover everything that’s incredible about the epoch in a few sentences. but essentially the epoch is a collective largely based in new york and chicago made up of wide array recording projects, most of which include some arrangement of the same seven people in the live setting. the epoch includes bands such as eskimeaux, bellows, told slant, small wonder, sharpless, florist, and yours are the only ears. theres something for everyone in their collective, and you can pretty much start anywhere with all of the bands current discography, since it’s all so fucking good.

Mitski

bury me at makeout creek was easily one best albums put out last year by an indie label. double double whammy has been quickly getting recognized for putting out consistently solid albums with all of the bands on their still very tight roster, but this album still seemed to explode out of nowhere. every positive thing you’ve read or heard about it is probably true though. bury me at makeout creek is filled with this really spooky yet vibrant energy from start to finish, and the only thing more enjoyable then listening to it over and over again roaming around by yourself is seeing her preform stuff from it live. mitski totally deserves you’re money, so be sure to give it to her.

Free Downloads

Topshelf Records 2014 Label sampler

this sampler is a rosetta stone of sorts for a lot of the small labels and bands putting out really amazing music right now. once you make it though all 93 of the songs on here, be sure to check out the one from 2013.


DBTS: BS1

this is the first volume of what looks like a very promising collection of demos, bedroom recordings, b-sides, and covers curated by the guys who run david blaine’s the steakhouse (a diy venue in bushwick that’s also where members of lvl up live).

Other

Yak Radio with Ethan Silverman and Dev Hynes

this is one of my favorite podcasts from know wave that brings together ethan silverman (co-founder of terrible records) and dev hynes (blood orange). both guys are so endearing and knowledgeable about music in new york, that it’s so fun to hear them talk about pretty much anything. ethan and dev seem to be friends with everyone cool who’s making stuff in nyc, and the format of two buds just telling each other what they’ve been up to, recapping what happened when they hung out together, and playing music from their favorite bands and labels, sort of just makes you want to be friends with them too. also they uploaded the acoustic session that porches. did on the podcast to soundcloud, so i’m forever grateful for that.

Show Paper

this is a really awesome group that makes these huge newsprint flyers that list a bunch of the all ages shows and shows that are under $25 happening in new york. plus on the back of each issue of the flyer is a rad poster designed by a different artist. you can check the map on their site, to see where you can pick them up


THANK YOU: KENDRA YEE CHRIS SALLQUIST TALLULAH FONTAINE MICHAL WIJATA KIRA ASZMAN SEAN JOSEPH KENNEDY TONY STELLA ROSEMARY VALERO-O’CONNELL CAGLA GULSAH KABACA ERIC PAUSE SOPHIA BENNETT HOLMES MIKE SNIPER PENELOPE GAZIN MONICA RAMOS KAYE BLEGVAD RACHAEL COLE LEAH GOREN MASUKO JO RACHEL LEVIT JULIA ROTHMAN GINA ROCKENWAGNER JOHN ERBACH CHRISTOPHER HOWARD-WOODS BEN SMITH MIKE ROSEN GRETA KLINE NOEL CLARO KENNETH CHRISTIAN EMMANUEL OLUNKWA LANGDON GRAVES VERONICA LAWLOR PAUL CORIO RYAN MCCARDLE DAVID, SONIA, AND SYMON JAMES-WILSON... ELAIZA SANTOS BJ RUBIN RYAN MCGINLEY OLIVER KALB ERIC COPELAND MITSKI EDAN WILBER ETHAN SILVERMAN SAM PINK DAVE BENTON MIKE CARIDI NECK FACE ALLYSSA YOHANA JENNY HOLZER ALEX G SIMON HANSELMANN DEVONTE HYNES MAT COTHRAN EARTHA KITT AARON MAINE SHANTI SHEA AN ALEXANDRA MOLOTKOW NICK RATTIGAN GABRIELLE SMITH SAM RAY


E D I T E D BY M AT T H E W JA M E S -W I L S O N


FORGE. Issue 6: Serendipity